Florida Cannabis Startup Guide

Starting a cannabis company in Florida? We’ve put together a state-specific guide covering everything from available license types to fees, regulations, and what you should include in a Florida cannabis business plan. Jump to a section by clicking below, or go straight to our sample cannabis business plan.
Florida medical cannabis business startup guide and planning banner

Click to jump to a topic:

Overview
Cannabis license types
Fees and other barriers to entry
Are cannabis business plans required in Florida?
What to include in a business plan
How to research city regulations
Helpful links
Get expert help

Overview of legal cannabis in Florida

Since SB 1030 and Amendment 2 passed in 2014 and 2016, respectively, Florida adults can possess and use medical marijuana if they have a recommendation from a doctor. (Florida is one of the few states that doesn’t limit how much cannabis you can have, so long as your doctor says it’s necessary.) More than 100,500 patients have registered for medical marijuana use in the state. In 2018, medical cannabis dispensary sales in Florida could be as high as $235 million. Smokable cannabis and growing marijuana at home are illegal (although the former is being fought in court). Edibles, CBD oils, sprays, and vaping are legal.

Cannabis business license types

Florida only issues one type of marijuana business license: medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTC). MMTCs grow, process, sell, and even deliver cannabis to patients. MMTCs are responsible for inspecting cannabis plants and seeds for pests, packaging, and other responsibilities to ready the product for sale. If you obtain a license for a MMTC, you can open up to 25 dispensaries. Every time 100,000 patients are added to Florida’s medical cannabis registry, each MMTC can add five more dispensaries.

Florida does not license independent testing facilities. MMTCs are responsible for testing their own cannabis for potency and contaminants.

If you don’t want to grow or sell cannabis in Florida, there are plenty of other ways to be part of the booming cannabis industry. You can create a marijuana app, payment processing service, advertising agency, consulting firm, accounting firm, watering system, security service, or legal firm--and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Florida medical marijuana business plan facts callout.

Fees and other barriers to entry

Local governments may forbid cannabis companies or certain locations, so check city and county regulations.

Application fees: Applying for a cannabis business license in Florida costs $60,830.

Financial requirement: You need at least $5 million in working capital/escrow/bonds when you apply for a medical marijuana business license.

Staffing: You have to hire a medical director with a valid Florida M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (osteopathic physician) license to oversee your MMTC.

Permits: If you’re going to make and sell edibles, you have to get a permit to operate as a food establishment in the state.

Do you need a cannabis business plan in Florida?

A business plan is not required to get a medical marijuana business license in Florida, but it will make the application process much easier. Your application already has to include a cultivation plan, management names and titles, cultivation facility description, odor mitigation plan, marketing plan, org chart, two-year projected budget, and procedures for transport and storage, much of which naturally overlap with a business plan. And if you plan on raising funding from investors, you definitely need a business plan.

What to include in your business plan

Here’s what an Florida marijuana business plan should include:
  • Product/service description: Will you run a MMTC, cannabis consulting firm, or something else? What’s unique about your business? Be as specific as you can.

  • Market research: If you’re opening dispensaries for your MMTC, how many people live within five miles? If you’re creating an app, who will be the user base, and why would they use your app instead of someone else’s? Use concrete numbers verified by a third party whenever possible (instead of estimates).

  • Competitors: Who will you compete with, both directly and indirectly? What do they do well and poorly? What is their online reputation? How will you differentiate your company?

  • Management team: Summarize your qualifications and those of others on your management team. (Think of it as a shorter, “greatest hits” version of your resume.) Obviously include cannabis industry experience as well as leadership skills, customer service, and business development experience.

  • Financials: This part can be tricky. You need a five-year financial forecast, including projected annual revenue, operating expenses, costs, and net profit. Each year’s projected revenue should include not only revenue but also your margin and direct costs. You can forecast revenue by estimating how much product you think you’ll sell (based on market potential), your retail price, your production cost, and how much you’ll spend on payroll, rent, and other expenses. Your cash flow statement will show that you’ll have enough cash to stay operational. You might want to include a sensitivity analysis (best- and worst-case scenarios), which shows 15% higher and 15% lower revenue than your initial forecast. You can also include a break-even analysis, showing which month you will be profitable.

  • Florida-specific requirements: If not included elsewhere in your application, you should include details in your business plan about your security system, secure product transport, manufacturing waste plan, odor mitigation plan, and anything else required by the state.

  • Investor proposal: If you are presenting your plan to investors, how are you valuing the shares? Consult with your attorney to make sure you are within state and federal compliance. Sometimes, you’ll need your attorney to draw up an offering memorandum, often called a private placement memorandum (PPM). A PPM informs potential investors on the details of the investment vehicle (your company) and potential risks associated with the investment.
How to research city regulations

Google your city or municipality name and “cannabis regulations” or “marijuana laws” (for example, here’s some information on Fort Lauderdale). If your city or municipality’s website doesn’t have information about cannabis, check recent local news coverage or contact your city clerk, city manager, or town hall.

Helpful Links
Get expert help

Confused or overwhelmed yet? That’s normal. With such a highly regulated industry, and one with different rules in every state, starting a cannabis company can be very complex. Get help with your cannabis business plan from Masterplans, the industry leaders. We’ve worked with hundreds of cannabis entrepreneurs like yourself to create investor-ready documents and presentations so you can not only meet regulations but get the funding you need. Click below for your free, confidential consultation:
Get my free consultation now